On Monday, gun rights advocates gathered peaceably in Richmond, Virginia — as they had for years, mind you — but according to the liberal media, this year was supposed to be different, with white nationalists and neo-Nazis with guns and dreams of Charlottesville 2.0 dancing around in their heads like poisonous sugarplums.
Nothing happened, but that didn’t actually stop the sensationalist headlines.
Perhaps one of the most egregious things to come out of the Monday rally was the strange juxtaposition of a shooting in a Kansas City, Missouri, bar with the goings-on in Richmond.
On Sunday, two people were killed and fifteen more were injured in the bar shooting before an armed guard took the shooter out.
It didn’t take long for chyrons like this to appear on CNN:
While characterizing a march on Richmond by masked men, heavily armed and wearing paramilitary gear, as just a “peaceful 2A rally,” far-right outlet repeatedly annoyed by reminders that gun violence claims scores of new victims daily. https://t.co/cQvn3eTUjj
— Glenn Craven (@GlennCraven) January 21, 2020
The gun rally ended eventually, however, so there had to be a new angle.
This time, it was that the suspected gunman in Kansas City — Jahron Swift, a 29-year-old who was found dead in a parking lot after the shooting, according to CNN — should have been in prison on a gun charge but was let go by a change in the law.
Well, finally, we’ve discovered a form of criminal justice reform that CNN can’t get behind. Even in that, however, they failed miserably.
“Court records show that Swift had two weapons charges in 2016 and 2017,” CNN reported.
“The 2016 charge was for unlawful use of a weapon and marijuana possession, according to court records. Swift was charged in 2017 with unlawful concealed carry, which could have revoked his probation on the previous charge and increased his chances of going to prison, Mike Mansur, the Jackson County prosecutor spokesman, told CNN.
“However, the second charge came as Missouri legislature adopted measures that permitted concealed weapons being carried without a permit.”
“I can’t say that he would have been imprisoned but I can say that the change in the law assured that he would be free because that charge went away,” Mansur said.
“CNN published a report Wednesday saying Swift likely would have gone to prison over a weapons charge if not for the state’s 2017 permitless carry law. However, the report obfuscated the date of Swift’s charge to suggest the law let him off the hook for it,” the Free Beacon reported Sunday.
Not only that, but CNN left a few critical details out.
“Swift was not on probation at the time of his second arrest, as the report insinuates, and he received a drug felony charge in addition to the weapons charge allegedly nullified by the state’s gun laws,” the Free Beacon reported.
“Swift was arrested following an August 2015 traffic stop in which he was caught with five grams of cocaine, more than $1,100 in cash, and a .45 caliber semiautomatic handgun. He was charged with possession of a controlled substance and unlawful use of a weapon.
“CNN’s report failed to mention Swift’s possession of cocaine. A permitless carry law would not have impacted Swift’s weapons charge, as Swift was in possession of both a weapon and a felony controlled substance.”
In short, there was no way he should have had a gun. Missouri’s laws had nothing to do with it. Swift was legally barred from possessing a firearm no matter what the laws in the state were.
That wasn’t all. As the Free Beacon noted, the problem may have been liberal leniency as opposed to a conservative defense of gun rights.
Jackson County, where these charges were levied, is also well-known for giving felons probation.
A Kansas City Star report stated that Jackson County “gave twice as many probation sentences for second-degree murder or voluntary manslaughter as all of the state’s other circuit courts combined from 2009 to 2013.”
The CNN story has since been clarified to note that the law took effect in 2017. It does not, however, mention that Swift could not legally own a firearm.
In a way, the juxtaposition of the Kansas City shooting and the gun rights protest in Richmond was actually more apropos than it might seem at first glance, although not for the reasons that CNN felt it was.
In Richmond, thousands of people who legally possessed firearms assembled peacefully without incident and were demonized. Over much of the coverage, a chyron informed viewers of a deadly shooting in which the alleged killer didn’t have the legal right to possess a firearm but had one anyway. Politicians were blamed for a law that applied to legal gun carriers which had nothing to do with the crime that was committed.
No apologies were given. At least in CNN’s case, it seems, no apologies were deemed necessary.
This is the problem with the gun debate in America.
It’s not just that we’re talking past each other. It’s that one side refuses to even acknowledge that the laws they blame couldn’t have even been responsible for the deaths they’re blaming them for.
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